Wallaby Wall & Slab City All Trad climbing19 routes in crag
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Access issues inherited from Western Gara Gorge
Mike Coffey (Kenwood Park): 02 6775 3766
Pete and Susanne or Jeff Moore: 02 6775 3727
It is important to let the Coffeys know you’re coming (as access is very close to their house), and ask the Moores for permission to cross their land (providing the most efficient access to Dome Wall or Persian Carpets).
Good relations with these landowners are essential for New England climbers, and all visitors in the future, to access these excellent crags, so please treat them with respect. Leave all gates as you find them, cross fences at the strongest strainer post, etc etc. Access is likely to be refused if tenants are in the Moores’ ‘holiday’ house, so please be patient or better still ask about staying there yourself.
This is a link to a file you can use in Google Earth to see a map to The Dome Wall Parking area:
Wallaby Walls history spans a decade of development from 1978 to and inclusive of 1988. Like many Bi-Centennial projects Wallaby Wall was considered finished in 1988. However like many other cliffs in Gara Gorge there are always more new routes...You just have to look a little harder.
When Joe Friend arrived in Armidale in 1977 he was amazed at the amount of unclimbed rock in Gara Gorge. Every chance he got he would ask locals to lake him to untouched rock further down the gorge. One local who obliged was Brian (Bob Dog) Birchall. In 1978 six new routes went up at Wallaby Wall; three on the main wall and three on on the slabs just below the main wall, Slab City. Friend led all six with a variety of seconds, Brian (Bobdog) Birchall, Richard Thomas and Rod (Rock McClimbcr) McClymont. Two of these climbs are highly recommended, Timeless Realm (20) and Hang Ten (17). Nutkin (14) is short but of good quality. On the first ascent of Timeless Realm the seconds, Thomas and McClymont, were so blown away with the difficulties of the climb and its exposure that they decided to jumar the first two pitches! 1980 saw further action on the main wall. Paul Bayne with Austin Legler freed the tension traverse on the first pitch of Timeless Realm by climbing the flakey wall that leads up to the small belay tree, pealing off an alarming number of loose flakes in the process. Later that same year two multi-pitch 80m routes were put up at the right-hand end of the main wall, Gripping Yarns (17) by Jack Lattanzio with Al Stephens and Ed Sharp, and Against All Odds (18) by Rob Clark and Stephens.
Both routes are a little dirty but involve some pleasant climbing. During the ascent of Against All Odds Clark and Stephens spent two scary hours sitting under the big roof near the top of the climb as a violent thunder storm slowly moved up the gorge. At one point during the lightning display Stephens offered to give his entire rack to Clark ... for nothing! During 1983 bolt protected slabs were coming into vogue. Mark Colyvan found a beautiful water streak at Slab City but on closer inspection found the top half of the streak, to be too hard. So he bolted the flakey wall left of the streak but used the crack lower down to start. He named the climb Silence Is Golden (21), an excellent climb with a touch of boldness. That same year Timeless Realm received further attention from visiting English climber Chris Dale with John Lattanzio. He managed to straighten out the first pitch by stepping out right onto the wall just below the spike, then following the seam up to the roof and under-clinging the roof right to the tree and bolt belay. This avoided all the frigging-in-the-rigging of the previous two approaches, greatly improving the climb.
Slab City received all the new climbers’ attention in 1984. They were Better Get A Bucket (15) by Stephens with Simon Gay, Organic Fallout (18) by Gay and Stephens , and Bananas (20) by Richard Curtis with Stephens. Curtis was going to call the climb Al Goes Ape because Stephens became very excited about the need for a bolt up high to protect the second from a big top style swing! In 1986 only one new route was put up, again at Slub City. Unholy Trinity (21) by Curtis and Lattanzio with Birchall takes part of the first pitch of Elite Style, then goes up and out right through a slabby wall.
Visiting Queensland climber, Trevor (Grunter) Gynther thought that he had done a whole new route in January 1987, Macadamia (17)....a Queensland nut! However the first part of Gynthers route is new, making it a variant start to Deviant Death (17) ,a solo route Friend did in 1978. 1988 was the year of hard climbing on the main wall, and Cookie Monsters (See the editor for details or read all about it in one of the old editions of "Screamer"). Tim (Tadpole) Ball and Jack(The Slack) Lattanzio were responsible for all new ones that year, assisted on occasions by Ed Sharp and Pete Sims. Probably the best route is Peasant Uprising (22), a climb that goes from bottom to top on the main part of Wallaby Wall. Two other good ones by Tad are Viking Sunrise (22) and Crosseyed and Painless (22). There are still new walls and cracks to do but you might need a little imagination to find them.
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